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Football Manager Predictions: Right and Wrong

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"Miles Jacobson à Paris" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Khomille

Football Manager has been a mine of information for football fans across the globe. Whether it has been to discover new teams or upcoming players, the game has provided an impressive array of background knowledge due to the data available.

As a result, when it makes predictions regarding the future of football, people, including experts at teams, tend to listen.

Many football clubs will have scouted players based on recommendations provided by the game. Like all systems it’s not infallible and all predictions made will not be correct, but sometimes the computer is able to mirror real life.

Here are two examples of where the game got it right and wrong.

Leicester’s survival in the 2014/15 Premier League season


"Leicester Line" (CC BY 2.0) by domfell

Football Manager provided a simulation at the end of the January transfer window in the 2014-15 campaign, with Leicester rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.

The Foxes had taken 17 points from their 23 matches and added only young striker Andrej Kramaric to their squad in their bid for survival.
Pundits had all but condemned Nigel Pearson’s men for relegation back to the Championship due to their struggles, but the game’s simulation backed Leicester to climb out of the bottom three and finish comfortably clear of the drop zone.

That prediction did not look too healthy when the Foxes slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the middle of an eight-match winless run. However, a run of seven wins in their last nine contests guided them into 14th place and six points clear of Hull in the final relegation spot.

That run would spark Leicester’s memorable surge for the Premier League title in the following campaign, although they’ve declined this season and are in need of another strong end to the term to stave off the threat of relegation. Claudio Ranieri’s men can currently be backed in the latest football betting odds at 14/1 to avoid the drop into the Championship.

Freddy Adu’s rise to stardom


"Freddy Adu v. Charleston Battery" (CC BY 2.0) by wjarrettc

Adu was touted for big things in the world of football, with some comparisons even made to the legendary Pele.

At the age of 14 he was drafted by DC United and became the youngest player to appear in the MLS when he came on as a substitute two months shy of his 15th birthday against the San Jose Earthquakes.

As a result of his potential, Football Manager 2005 described him as a must sign, and when he was allowed to develop he became a superstar by his early twenties.

He lived up to the billing in the game, dominating like Lionel Messi does for Barcelona and Argentina in the real world - unfortunately the same could not be said for Adu.

After struggling to make the grade following a £2m move to Benfica in 2007 and four loan spells across Europe, he returned to the MLS with the Philadelphia Union where he enjoyed mild success.

Still only 27, Adu finds himself at the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the United Soccer League. His star failed to rise to the peaks anticipated, joining players such as Cherno Samba, Mark Kerr and Tonton Zola Moukoko in being unable to translate virtual success onto the real-life platform.

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FM Blog: Football Manager Predictions: Right and Wrong
Football Manager Predictions: Right and Wrong
Many football clubs will have scouted players based on recommendations provided by the game. Like all systems it’s not infallible and all predictions made will not be correct, but sometimes the computer is able to mirror real life.
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